Should We Keep Nuclear Weapons
In this essay, the focus will be on whether or not nuclear weapons should continue to be produced, or if dismantling the world’s stockpiles would be the better decision. There is a lot of conflict going on around the world at this time. My family lived in an area where there are a lot of people from the Middle East, so we hear a lot that tensions are extremely high. Luckily, the majority of countries that have the stockpiles of nuclear weapons are not really involved to the point of even considering them as far as society knows. Even though it is obvious that the cons outweigh the pros, but that does not mean that nothing good has come from , or nuclear weapons themselves.
Now to take a look at the pros. Since nuclear weapons have been used in battle (by USA only), there have been less casualties during wars. For example, the Iraq war had a total of roughly a half of a million deaths. Now granted The Huffington Post and The Lead Author of the study, Amy Hagopian, outed that this includes “all indirect deaths…”(Hagopian, 2013). In comparison, there were far more deaths in World War One. With all allied forces along with the countries against them, the total deaths equaled 37,466,904(PBS, 2015), With simple math, that equals 74 times as many deaths as after nuclear weapons were invented. That number is astonishing! This is just a simple comparison and more than likely there are some wars that had less as well.
The formula and technology that led to the nuclear bomb has had a remarkable effect on every aspect of life in the United States. As of 2014, the U.S. Nuclear Energy Institute website states that almost 20% of all power in United States comes from Nuclear Power. That equals “797.1 billion kilowatt hours generated”(Nuclear Energy Institute, 2014).
One last pro we need to investigate is how well nuclear weapons have kept the world from falling back into a major conflict or World War. Every war since the invention of nuclear weapons has either not become a world issue or has been resolved without the need of putting half the powers of the world against one another. Personally, it doesn’t appear that developed countries want to go down that route, because if one country, say Russia, were to drop a nuke in Great Britain, America would follow right behind them in Western Europe’s defense.
Now for the huge downside to this epic invention and discovery. If my memory is correct, 1945 was when United States started testing nuclear weaponry. They did many tests in the southern Pacific and even some here in the United States in a few states, but mostly Nevada. On a website examining deaths by cancer per capita (100,000 people), there is a graph that shows a steady rise in cancer deaths until its peak around 1990-1992. After that, cancer drastically declines, obviously with our wonderful advancements in science. But, is it coincidence that the last nuclear test performed on American soil happened in 1992? It just can’t be, there has to be a connection.
Along with the great advancements in nuclear power, there have been two very extreme disasters that could have been avoided. If only the rush of the understanding of the danger instead of the rush for the technology didn’t take place. The accident at the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl “caused the largest uncontrolled radioactive release into the environment ever recorded” (Chernobyl Accident 1986, 2015). Not only was the immediate surrounding area contaminated to a deadly level, winds also blew the toxic radioactive material as far away as Western Europe and Scandinavia. There are far too many sites on the internet that show what the damage from the rise in thyroid cancer has done to the remaining inhabitants of towns around Chernobyl and Pripyat. The most recent nuclear disaster not the fault of human error, but of a natural occurrence that is very common in the Fukushima Region of Japan. This again shows the lack of education on the part of the developers who should have obviously prepared for an earthquake of larger than reality strength. The earthquake that struck off the coast on March 11, 2011 was a 9.0 and luckily happened in the middle of the afternoon. Because of the timing and the fact that an earthquake was the signal of danger, the casualties of this nuclear disaster are almost nonexistent. Sadly, the Governments controlling the Chernobyl accident did not warn the residents of Pripyat or any of the locals until the issue was obvious. The people of Pripyat were actually at a festival with the nuclear plant burning in the distance with no clue as to what was happening. The explosion and release of nuclear material from Fukushima into the air was followed all the way to North America. There also have been many islands off the coast of Alaska that have required cleanup from all the possible radioactive garbage that traveled across the ocean.
Going over all this information has led me to believe that the invention was vastly important for human advancement. I am not sure if I agree with the use or the production of nuclear weapons, while they seem so devastating, they also seem like they have the ability to keep peace. If more precautions were taken and the study of radiation was examined more closely, nuclear power could have been a lot less dangerous. Something as simple as trying to find a new energy source, turned into a species changing event. Now we have created our own predator in the form of cancer and other genetic disorders attributed to Radiation, and of course bombs that can cause irreversible damage and generations of diseases to follow.
Sheridan, K. (January, 23 2014). Iraq death toll reaches 500,000. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/15/iraq-death-toll_n_4102855.html
WW1 Casualties and deaths tables. (2015). PBS. Retrieved from https://www.pbs.org/greatwar/resources/casdeath_pop.html
General U.S. nuclear info. (2014). Nuclear Energy Institute. Retrieved from http://www.nei.org/Knowledge-Center/Nuclear-Statistics/US-Nuclear-Power-Plants
Chernobyl accident 1986. (2015). World Nuclear Association. Retrieved from http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/safety-and-security/safety-of-plants/chernobyl-accident/
Fukushima accident. (2015). World Nuclear Association. Retrieved from http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/safety-and-security/safety-of-plants/fukushima-accident/